May 18, 2023

There are a few things around the house that my dad asked me to help him with, things he can’t do because his leg is still recovering from surgery. Normally, he’d just get them done. He’s a handy guy.

For as long as I can remember, my dad has had tools. Lots of them. All over the place. He problem solves and tinkers, repurposing and reshaping things to make them work for him. The amount of stuff that he has usually annoys me, especially because I can see myself slowly starting to do the same. I curse every time one of his collections of tools gets in my way. I curse whenever I’m trying to find something in one of the many bins that are filling up in my apartment, too. I keep wishing that he’d just take the time to organise his things so that there aren’t so many of them and to make finding the right tool easier. I, too, have issues with clutter.

Over the last couple of days, I’d randomly remember that he has a tool that I’d find helpful. As I’ve asked for things, he’s shown me where they are and I’ve stashed them in a corner so I won’t forget to pack them. This afternoon, we were trying to fix my mom’s stand mixer when he asked me to go get a screwdriver. When I saw all of his tools, splayed out in a disarray of hanging pouches, heavy drawers, and overflowing boxes of all sorts, I saw potential.

Imagine what you could make with all of these things! These bits and bobs, screws and nails, wrenches, hammers, hand saws, belt sanders, sockets, levels, drills, table saws…. Just imagine. My head began to swell with ideas. If I parked the cars on the driveway, his garage could become my workshop.

The knowledge of electronics, woodworking, machinery, circuitry, and all else, that he has collected over his lifetime is tucked away in the recess of his brain. He’s more than willing to share it all with me but I need to ask the right question or present the right problem in order to have access to what he knows. My journey into woodworking is relatively new. By my age, he was already well versed in what I’m only beginning to find out about.

I like using my dad’s tools because it helps me feel connected to him. We have different personalities and interests. His mind works differently than mine does; he’s more rational, I’m more emotional. His sense of right and wrong is a lot more defined than mine is. He has had to work a lot harder than I’ll ever know to get to where he is in life. My ride has been comparatively easy. When I use his tools, or when we work together, our bond becomes a little tighter because it involves using our heads and our hands to fix a problem that we both find interesting.

I was reminded of my place when I assuredly claimed that the Robertson screwdriver he asked for was too large right before he securely unscrewed the housing on the stand mixer with it. In my apartment, I use a ratcheting multi-bit screwdriver that I bought for myself.


Leave a Reply